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Are you fascinated by Antique Jewelery and vintage jewelery or just want to buy a piece as a special gift or heirloom? If so you need to know that the piece you are buying is a genuine antique and not a modern copy. There are many things to check and look out for such as the materials the piece is made from, the way the jewelery is made and the shape of the catches and hinges. All of these factors are just guidelines but with British Antique Jewelery you can sometimes tell the exact date of a piece from its hallmarks.
Hallmarking law is complex, it has varied from city to city and has changed many times over the years since it was introduced in the middle ages. It takes a set of tables to work out the exact age of a piece but there are certain pieces of antique jewelery that it is easy to work out the age of. One of these is British antique jewelery made from 15 carat gold.
What is 15 Carat Gold?
15 carat gold is gold of 625 purity, which is 625 parts of pure gold per 1000 parts. Pure gold is very expensive and also quite soft so it is mixed with other materials to give a harder and cheaper material that is more suitable and longer lasting than pure gold for use in jewelery. The other materials include copper, silver, iron, platinum and aluminum. The color of the gold can be altered using different metals in the blend, for example rose gold is produced by having a high level of copper in the mix. 15 carat gold can theoretically be any color that gold can be made in but normally you will find it as yellow or rose gold
How can i identify 15 carat gold?
British antique jewelery which is made of 15 carat gold will be hallmarked with the number 15 and.625. If the piece of jewelery is quite light weight it may just be stamped 15ct. If there are the full hallmarks you would also expect to find a town mark, a date letter and the gold standard mark for the town which would help give an exact date.
When was 15 carat gold used?
It was only a legal standard of gold in British jewelery between 1854 and 1931. During this time 12 carats (.5 or 500 parts per thousand) was also used. These two standards were replaced by 14 carat in 1932. Neither 12 or 15 carat gold were legal standards before 1854. This means any piece of antique gold jewelery from Britain with the 15 carat hallmark dates somewhere between 1854 and 1931 and you have a genuine piece of antique or vintage jewelery.